Me, standing on a rusty old fire escape in front of an old brick building close to the river Spree. One hand is resting on my hip, the other is stretched up to the side along the railing. I'm wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. The setting sun is tinting everything in warm colours. The photograph was taken by Susanne Kohl.
Photo: Susanne Kohl

Thomas Maria Helzle - Sculptor

Welcome to my online gallery!

Here I showcase my latest sculptures, mostly made of wood, but also hybrid designs from other materials.

My special focus is on what each tree has experienced, what formed them, including everything that we normally see as "flaw" or "error" and remove. For me, those are the most interesting parts, because they often hold the real character and expression.

Just as humans, trees carry their history with them, the scars and deformations, the stress, the deprivations and dis-eases, just as they carry the light, the abundance and the warm summer rain.

I get inspired exactly by that and try to amplify the special beauty of those different parts and make them into something new.

With other materials, like plaster and clay I'm also not looking for perfection, but for authentic presentation of what defines human life much more than what we show on the outside.

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Close up view of a cracked knot on the shoulder of the Torso with a bright white wall behind, reflecting on the shiny surface.
Close up of one of the 'arm stumps', where a branch was cut and bark grew over it, like scar tissue. The bark around it is folded and wrinkled.
Macro of the cracks on the head of the more slender figure in the Lovers sculpture. Dark red-brown clay on a base of white plaster.
Close up into the Transitions sculpture, with focus on a couple of knots, surrounded by smooth flowing forms out of focus.
The Torso sculpture seen from above, showing the flat top area with one step in the middle from the original cutting of the tree and some cracks in focus and everything beneath more and more blurred by dept of field on a dark background.

Learning by Doing...

...has always been my favourite path.

Waldorf school, carpenters apprenticeship, working in theatre, stage design, props, film and tv sets and finally decades in 3D-graphics, design and multimedia were my studies. And each new project extended my horizon and my abilities.

Over the years, a certain aesthetic crystallised, a love for organic flowing forms with nature as the big teacher, model and constant inspiration.

The cottage in the woods where I often work in summer stands surrounded by large pines, beeches and birches, with gigantic oaks strewn in, hundreds of years old.

This is where the first sculpture came to be. It opened something inside of me that has grown and broadened. It led me back in a big circle to where I started but as a totally different person who has left a lot of baggage behind and made room for his very own way of being.

And this is also what I look for in every piece of wood, every tree, every material. And each "wound" and "fault" is precious to me, since those make us who we are and show us the way.

Macroshot of a green leaf against the sun. The veins form beautiful patterns inside. In the background another leaf glows blurred in the sun.
Closeup of an old tree stump which is mostly molded away, but one side is still there and the edge is forming an interesting silhouette, overgrown with moss and lichen.
Macro of the rotten wood of a very old and huge oak. The wood decays into small rectangular pieces that form fascinating structures.
Small light-beige mushrooms grow from a fallen tree that is completely overgrown by moss in this macro shot. They show their gills and there are pine needles lying on the moss.
A yellow locust tree leaf unfolds itself like a fractal in spring in this macro shot in front of a blurred green background.
Closeup of the gnaw marks of woodworms on a fallen pine tree. They build fascinating structures like alien script characters or very organic town maps.
A macro shot from the eye-level of moss on the forest floor with small leaves and little branches strewn about.
Another macro of the rotten wood of a very old and huge oak tree. The wood decays into small rectangular pieces that form fascinating structures, this one looks like some kind of cubic town or a container shipyard.
An extremely well disguised moth sitting on the wood shavings from my sculptures. It is beige-white with small abstract pattern onn the wings and was absolutely invisible from a distance...
Another macro shot of a leaf against the sun, this one showing smooth organic structures and patterns inside.
Closup of an old, washed out treetrunk in the forest with organic flowing wood grain that is flowing almost like water around a central, rotting away branch.